Dallas’ Mina Chang Resigns from the State Department

Mina Chang, as she appeared in the Observer's 2014 people issue
Can Turkyilmaz
Mina Chang, as she appeared in the Observer's 2014 people issue
The most surprising thing about Mina Chang's resignation is that it took this long. Monday afternoon, five days after NBC News outed her as a fraud, Chang quit her post at the U.S. State Department.

"It is essential that my resignation be seen as a protest and not as surrender because I will not surrender my commitment to serve, my fidelity to the truth, or my love of country," Chang said in her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "Indeed, I intend to fight for those things as a citizen in the days and years to come."

According to NBC's reporting last week, Chang's fidelity to the truth is a new virtue.

According to last week's story, Chang didn't have a degree from Harvard Business School, despite claiming to be an "alumna" in her official State Department biography. She also never spoke at the 2016 Democratic or Republican national conventions despite claiming to have done so, nor did she appear on the cover of Time, despite answering questions about having made such an appearance during a 2017 interview.

Her work at a local nonprofit, which would have been her best qualification for the job she got with the Trump administration, was exaggerated, too.

Monday, NBC published additional revelations from Chang's time with Linking the World. The details of Chang's 2015 trip to Afghanistan were embellished, according to the report. 

From Monday's article:

Chang had portrayed the 2015 trip to Afghanistan as a humanitarian mission for her nonprofit, but a defense contractor footed the bill and no aid was delivered, according to documents from the company and a former employee.

After the Afghanistan trip, Chang posted photos of herself meeting a group of Afghan women in a room. In a video posted on her charity's website, she refers to the photo and says the Afghan women are "in hiding" at a secret location.

"This is in Afghanistan, I am sitting with women in our program, they are living in hiding. I can only say they are right outside of the Kabul area," Chang said in an interview posted on her nonprofit's website.

But the women were not part of any program run by her charity, Linking the World. They were wives of local employees of the defense contractor that paid for her trip, Automotive Management Services, and they were not in hiding, a former employee said.

"They were photo-ops," the former employee said of Chang's trip to Afghanistan, and another to Iraq.
NBC also found that a data scientist listed as an employee of Linking the World on its website never worked for the company. Michel Lombard, who the nonprofit's website lists as its "chief data scientist," had never heard of the company, he said.

In a response to NBC, Chang claimed that Lombard volunteered for Linking the World, like the nonprofit's other advisers.

Reporters also found that Chang, who the Observer profiled in its 2014 People Issue, made up a fictitious degree from the University of Hawaii in a 2012 interview with DFWChild.